5-25 (ODD NUMBERS) ALVA STREET, INCLUDING RAILINGS (Ref:28236)
This building is in the Edinburgh, City Of Council and the
It is a category A building and was listed on 14/12/1970.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NT 24546 73713.
J Gillespie Graham, 1823; executed by R Hutchinson (1826 -1830). 33-bay classical terrace comprising 2-and 3-storey attic and basement unified townhouse façade with main-door and common stair flats behind; later corniced, slate hung storey to No. 15. Sandstone ashlar, droved to basement, channelled at ground floor. Entrance platts oversailing basement. Band course at ground floor; banded cill course at 1st floor; corniced eaves course; balustraded parapet. Architraved and corniced surrounds to openings at 1st floor. Cast-iron anthemion balconies at 1st floor. Predominantly 15-pane and 12-pane in timber sash and case windows, with some plate glass in timber sash and case. Double pitch M section roof, grey slates. Corniced ashlar ridge stacks with modern clay cans. Cast-iron railings on ashlar coping stone edging basement recess to street. INTERIOR: interior typified by Greek decorative scheme with Greek key motif cornicing, converted for later office and residential use (2008).
Well-detailed tenement design by James Gillespie Graham situated at the edge of the former Walker Estate. The plain but well-executed finish and the inclusion of the anthemion balconies make the terrace a good piece of streetscape. The balconies are a particularly good survival and echo the simple neo Greek interiors which originally featured but are no longer evidenced internally.
Alva Street lay on land belonging to Lord Alva, who acted as a trustee for James Erskine. The plan for this part of his estate was drawn up by Gillespie Graham, but the land was sold in 1825 to a lawyer, James Stuart. Nothing was done to develop the site, and the land was sold again to a builder (Robert Hutchison) in 1826. It was under his ownership that the street was built to the original Gillespie Graham plan by 1830.
James Gillespie Graham was best known for designing country houses and churches in the Gothic style, and his work was predominantly on Gothic churches and castellated country houses. He produced relatively little classical work, but in addition to Gray's House in Elgin (see separate listing) his most notable work was the Moray Estate. The monumental style of the architecture, in which he was influenced by Adam's Charlotte Square (see separate listing) can also be seen in Alva Street which takes the form of end pavilions flanking a central run of terraced townhouses.
(List description revised 2009 as part of re-survey.)
Ordnance Survey, Large Scale Town Plan, (1849-53); John Wood, Plan of the City of Edinburgh, including all the latest and intended improvements (1823); J Gifford, C McWilliam, D M Walker, The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh (1988) p. 369; Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600 -1840, (1995).
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